Book Review: Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell

Title: Shadowed Summer. Author: Saundra Mitchell. Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Mystery. Paperback: 192 pages. Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; First Edition (June 8, 2010). Description: Nothing ever happened in Ondine, Louisiana, not even the summer Elijah Landry disappeared. His mother knew he ascended to heaven, the police believed he ran away, and his girlfriend thought he was murdered. Decades later, certain she saw his ghost in the town cemetery, fourteen-year-old Iris Rhame is determined to find out the truth behind "The Incident With the Landry Boy". Enlisting the help of her best friend Collette, and forced to endure the company of Collette's latest crush, Ben, Iris spends a summer digging into the past and stirring old ghosts, in search of a boy she never knew. What she doesn't realize is that in a town as small as Ondine, every secret is a family secret. My Review: I didn't hear much about this book, but the story sounded interesting and I happened to receive a free copy... 

So I read it. Fun, exciting personal story, right? Well, it is an understated reaction to an understated book. Despite the book being about ghosties I can't say it is all about the ghosties. The story is about friendship, growing up, healing  and all that good angsty stuff that coming of age stories should have. I think what I liked most about the book was the setting. Setting can become its own character, a behemoth presence in a story. The setting doesn't overwhelm the story itself, but it surly enhances all the good qualities. The small town stuff. Showcasing the dark secrets everyone seems to have and hide. And it is plain to see that past events still have an effect on the people of Ondine. I see this book as a read for a younger crowd, I wouldn't have a problem with my little sisters reading this (they are 9 and 11). The romance is sweet and light. An awakening to love, if you will (jeez, I can't believe I actually just used that if I were sixty and a college professor). The main relationship focus is family and friends. 

I was kinda hoping for something to happen before I read the book, before I knew the character ages. I probably would have been rolling my eyes if anything did happen between these young kids (was that a spoiler?). There is a mystery going on, but I never saw it as a "Let's solve a murder and find a killer!" It was more of a puzzler, for the characters, about why this ghost was coming to them for help (he does have a peachy way of asking... sheesh). And stuff just gets resolved (I suppose) in the end. Rating: 3.5/5. I enjoyed this book so I don't want to say that I feel like a younger audience would like this more. Maybe older audiences would find it a bit of a nice departure from all the stuff saturating the ya market now. This book is a nice quick read about a small town girl trying to solve a ghostly mystery, and boys, crushes and friends seep into mix. So if that sounds like something you may like then check this title out. I have to make a mention that I liked the mini twist at the end. It was kind of bittersweet... probably why I liked it.